Thursday, 16 July 2015

Luscombe Drinks: Organic, Local, Delicious

I have already waxed lyrical about Luscombe Passionate Ginger Beer - their newest offering and absolutely lovely.  A great combination of flavours - and I don't necessarily like things to be 'mucked around'. The passionfruit flavour works really well with the ginger and light fizz.

It was good to revisit these:  Strawberry Crush, Damascene Rose Bubbly (I think I tried this at Exeter Food Festival), Raspberry Crush, Wild Elderflower Bubbly.  They were all good - my children, aged 14 and 15 polished them off as an after-school treat - they loved them.  They had the Strawberry Crush and Raspberry Crush.  They are not a huge fan of fizzy drinks normally - they prefer milk or water - but they really enjoyed these.  I think lots of parents would rather their offspring had these rather than the ubiquitous caffeinated, full-of-sugar alternatives.  Three of the four were organic and they are made in Buckfastleigh I believe - the site of a lovely lunch I had recently!

These are perfect for summer days - I stored them in the fridge and served them with ice.  It is very nice to sit down and sip a Luscombe drink in the garden whilst waiting for dinner to be ready (sorry, that was a dream...).

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Buckfast Abbey: The Grange Cafe Review

It's not every day that I have lunch at a Benedictine monastery (Buckfast Abbey)

We had a wander around the gardens and the abbey.  The lavender, herbs and the roses stick in my mind as being beautiful.  There were plenty of nuns and monks around all in different attire - I think they were attending a conference on site.

The Grange is a great place to eat - it is attractive to behold from the outside - the food is all prepared locally (even the sandwiches).  There is no admission charge - there are tables inside and outside (under cover, with transparent wind shields, or exposed to the elements).  The tables outside have a great view of the gardens and abbey.  It seats about 300 people.

I had the lamb hot pot with vegetables and my husband had the meat lasagne.  They were both tasty (the lamb hot pot tasted of mint and had a really good amount of meat and vegetables in it, topped with many slices of crisped potatoes and then there was the mixed veg, cabbage, cauliflower cheese and extra gravy as accompaniments).  The cafe is self-service and it's the sort of place you can ask for a large portion if that's what you want!

We followed this with an Eccles cake (fruit soaked in the famous Buckie alcohol) and an enormous slice of treacle tart, bathed in golden syrup and served with a large dollop of clotted cream.  We both had a glass of Luscombe drinks.  I had the new Passionate Ginger Beer which I can heartily recommend.  The food is traditional, really well prepared and delicious - good value too.

The restaurant manager, Bernard, chatted to us whilst we finished our desserts and enjoyed the view in the sunshine.  He explained that they never know how many people are going to dine there each day but they pride themselves on preparing all their own food and they get by even when 60 people arrive unannounced.  He mentioned that they are also open for breakfast.  The salad bar was out of action today but there were salad boxes available for those who wanted them.  There is usually a hot counter and a cold one.

I enjoyed the whole experience, despite not being religious.  Buckfast Abbey and the Grange are beautiful places.  The Abbey has an air of tranquility, serving great grub with lovely views.

This is how I felt afterwards!  A sculpture just down from the cafe...The portions were big!